USD students invited to display research at Pierre Poster Session

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Two undergraduate students from The University of South Dakota were selected by the faculty for outstanding research accomplishments to be recognized at the South Dakota Capitol rotunda in Pierre on Tuesday, Feb. 17.

Andrea Gorden, a chemistry major from Milbank, S.D., and Keenan Thomas, a physics and mathematics major from Rapid City, S.D., are among 10 students from colleges and universities in South Dakota invited to display their research, in poster form, during the Pierre Poster Session, which is co-sponsored by the Research Affairs Council of the South Dakota Board of Regents and the South Dakota EPSCoR Office.

Focusing on developing sources of alternative energy, Gorden researches analyzes the synthesis and characterization of a new class of solid organic acids suitable for a cost effective, environmentally efficient fuel cell. According to Gorden, organic solid acids are not traditionally considered effective for membrane materials due to their decomposition rates; however, this new class is stabilized by their unique intramolecular hydrogen-bonding and would be useful in fuel cell technology.

A photo of Gorden is available for download at

Thomas, meanwhile, is measuring the sources of background radiation, such as gamma rays, neutrons and airborne radon, found in the deep campus of Homestake Mine. Located in Lead, S.D., the Homestake Mine has been selected by the National Science Foundation as the preferred site for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). For DUSEL to become a world class physics experiment facility, Thomas’ research results are critical to designing facility infrastructure, including ventilation systems and clean rooms.

A photograph of Thomas is available for download at

The Pierre Poster Session is an opportunity for undergraduate students statewide to showcase their research and for universities to highlight the state’s investment into research and graduate education. In addition, research collaborations between various state institutions, industry and federal agencies will be exhibited with undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and faculty researchers available to answer questions and meet with legislators, media and visitors to the capitol building.

For more information about research at The University of South Dakota, please contact the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at (605) 677-5370 or e-mail: